CONNECTICUT 30, BAYLOR 22: Second half turnovers doom Bears in setback to Huskies

by dentonramsey

CONNECTICUT 30, BAYLOR 22: Second half turnovers doom Bears in setback to Huskies

By Denton Ramsey, Big 12 Fans Baylor Correspondent

WACO, Texas – Despite the pre-game hype and a hyper home crowd, the Baylor Bears (1-1) dropped an eight-point heartbreaker, 30-22, to the Connecticut Huskies (2-1) on Saturday evening at Floyd Casey Stadium.

After falling behind by six at halftime, the Bears came out in the second half and handed the Huskies 14 straight points on back-to-back turnovers in the red zone as U-Conn built a 20-point lead.

“We came out in the second half ready to get things going and we shot ourselves in the foot twice,” Baylor sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin said. “Things just did not go our way. We just have to rebound for that and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Just a few minutes after Connecticut pushed their lead to 27-7, Baylor answered with a touchdown of their own on a five-yard run by Griffin to pull within 27-14. However, U-Conn tacked on a 34-yard field goal midway through the final quarter to take a commanding 16-point lead.

“I think the momentum changes were the two back-to-back turnovers to start the third quarter,” Baylor Head Coach Art Briles said. “At the half we were still in the middle of the football game, a 13-7 football game might as well be a 0-0 ballgame. You have to fight through it. What you can’t do is go and give up 14 points. You’d like to not turn it over. We’d like to feel that if we get it on the other teams 20-yard line you’re going to get points. If we wanted to point fingers, all I have to do is get in front of the mirror. I need to do a lot better job of making sure our mentality and execution are where they need to be.”

Shortly after the Huskies built a 30-14 lead, Griffin and the Bears marched down the field and scored a quick touchdown and two-point conversion to pull within eight at 30-22. But a failed onside kick on the ensuing drive and successful running by Connecticut resulted in a disappointing loss for Baylor.

“It is disappointing — players make plays; coaches are not out there playing,” Griffin said. “Coach Briles, he likes to take the fall for a lot of things, but players have to go out there and make plays.”

For Briles, Griffin, and the rest of the Baylor Nation, Saturday’s loss was truly a disappointing one — though by no means does it change the Bears ultimate goals for the season.

“It is football,” Griffin said. “You don’t get all your goals all of the time, so we are 1-1 now. We will be judged on the rest of the games this season, not just this game.”

On the bright side, Griffin did rack up 119 yards in the air on Saturday as the Bears garnered 266 total yards of offense (while also going 4-of-10 on third-down conversions and scoring on both opportunities they entered the red zone).

Baylor returns to the gridiron on Saturday, Sept. 26, against Northwestern State — in a game slated to kickoff at 6 p.m. at Floyd Casey Stadium.

“We understand that we’ll be judged in December and not in September,” Briles said. “We have a lot of football in front of us. This is why you play the game because you don’t know what’s going to happen. We need to learn from this, re-group and have to get ready to play Northwestern State next week.”

Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at denton.ramsey@gmail.com

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